Kurayami Monogatari

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Mai Kuraki – Winter Bells June 30, 2009

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 12:21 am
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winterbells

Track Listing

  1. Winter Bells
  2. thankful
  3. always -Gomi’s Lair Club Mix- (Radio Edit)
  4. Winter Bells ~Instrumental~

1. Winter Bells

I’m not sure why the song starts out in the studio with some guy talking…anyways, whenever someone would ask me name a song that reminds me of Mai Kuraki, Winter Bells comes up first because well, it’s so joyous and giddy in a good way.  Mai’s vocals are a bit soft-spoken, but I love this song too much for my own good.  She chose a great song to be an A-side IMO

2. thankful

thankful is of course the ballad of the single and sadly it’s terribly bland.  I mean it’s got piano and a light R&B sound going on and well, you can’t get any more unoriginal after this.  It does gradually get better and more musically better as well…but ~I’m so sankful?!?~ whoa Mai-K, fix your English please xD

 

 

Mai-K does her self good here with Winter Bells, the overly fun and joyous winter song and thank god it wasn’t a ballad….thankful was that and I quite hated it for sure….not the most original track she’s done, but I know she can do better for sure.

 

Mai Kuraki – Beautiful June 7, 2009

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 3:07 am
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beautifulmai

Track Listing

  1. Beautiful
  2. wana
  3. Beautiful -instrumental-

1. Beautiful

Beautiful is definitly a mood switcher from the last single, “PUZZLE/Revive”.  It’s quite nice to hear something so calm from Mai-K here and now.  There’s definitly a nod to her pasr R&B tracks and I kind of like this and how it overall sounds.  There’s just something about it that is nice and soothing.  I got to say, this was a pretty good A-side.

2. wana

wana is more like the alternate side of R&B with a more upbeat sound and heavy synth usage.  It actually reminds me of “PUZZLE” and that might not be such a good thing.  Well, there is a positive thing about it and there’s no random guy bothering the song up.  What’s more nice is the piano was also used in the song which made things a bit more unique.  Awesome song.

 

 

Mai-K actually released a better single than her last with “Beautiful”.  The A-side is a relaxing calm pop track that Mai always gets right especially with the beach-like PV that came along with it.  wana was slick and quite sexy at points and I’m surprised because she rarely has these kind of songs as B-sides.  Sweet single and good to end the era for her best-of album

 

Mai Kuraki – Can’t forget your love/PERFECT CRIME -Single Edit- May 8, 2009

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 2:05 am
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cantforgetyourlove

Track Listing

  1. Can’t forget your love
  2. PERFECT CRIME -Single Edit-
  3. PERFECT CRIME ~DJ ME-YA URBAN BEAT BOX REMIX~
  4. Can’t forget your love (Instrumental)
  5. PERFECT CRIME -Single Edit- (Instrumental)

1. Can’t forget your love

I was a bit surprised to finally hear Mai-K finally leave the saddening sounds of the R&B style she was using.  Instead we get a very simple ballad that has twinkly feelings going throughout.  Then my thoughts are dashed as the song gets a shuffling sound…ugh…she should’ve kept the ballad sound going.  Mai’s vocals are pretty sweet and she’s softer than she normally is which makes the song more nice.  It’s actually pretty good, better than her last few A-sides.

2. PERFECT CRIME -Single Edit-

I really loved PERFECT CRIME from the last album, and to see it basically revamped on this single made me happy.  The edit is actually pretty minor, I think it’s because the beginning is actually now muffled which is pretty rad.  The songs arrangement is a lot darker than her normal releases of songs and this was pretty awesome.  Definitly worthy to have been an A-side ^_^

 

 

Mai-K’s first single of the “FAIRY TALE” era was a great start for the era.  The first A-side was a little typical, but Mai progressed well enough to make the song pop and was a pretty nice ballad.  PERFECT CRIME though was a cool addition even though it isn’t on the album for obvious reasons.  Still I was impressed by the single.

 

Mai Kuraki – PUZZLE/Revive March 29, 2009

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 2:20 am
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Track Listing

  1. PUZZLE
  2. Revive
  3. THE ROSE ~melody in the sky~ “Live Rehearsal Session”
  4. PUZZLE -instrumental-
  5. Revive -instrumental-

1. PUZZLE

I don’t think I would’ve believed Mai to pull something like this.  I mean it starts with a door shutting and something rapping with Mai.  There’s a lot of synth in this song…moreso than a bunch of other tracks.  I think she could’ve done without the guy, but this song is definitly super and one of the memorable ones.

2. Revive

Revive though simply brings some more life into the single by sounding latin once again.  I’ve always liked her latin tracks and Revive does not disappoint at all.  It might be a little bland in originality and it might just be a little boring, but I can’t resist getting up and dancing along with the song.

3. THE ROSE ~melody in the sky~ “Live Rehearsal Session”

Remember this track from Mai’s sophomore album, “PERFECT CRIME”?  Well, I do since I reviewed that last, hahaha.  If you remember, THE ROSE is a short track over 2 minutes and featured all English lyrics.  Instead of the cute strings and such, it’s replaced with an all-out acoustic feel and Mai obviously resang this as well because her English has definitly gotten better with this song and she sounds real nice.  Great touch on an old song.

 

 

Yes!  Mai-K’s first single of the new era kicked things off great.  PUZZLE was definitly fresh and surprisingly really good especially after “touch Me!” this was great.  Revive was alright, maybe a little too easy to guess but good otherwise and going back to revisit an older track and make it better was amazing.  It isn’t the perfect single, but it’s really good.

 

Mai Kuraki – Stand Up December 23, 2008

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 6:47 am
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250px-stand_up

Track Listing

  1. Stand Up
  2. Double Rainbow
  3. YES or NO ~TRANCE Continental Remix~
  4. Stand Up ~Instrumental~

1. Stand Up

Finally, something that makes me relike Mai-K again.  Stand Up is what you call an upbeat track, maybe summery perhaps?  Mai sounds like she’s definitly letting loose and having a lot of fun.  There are BKGD vocals this time around and they harmonize alright and Mai even though she sounds a little stuffy, she sounds otherwise fine.  Another breakout track from her.

2. Double Rainbow

In some respects, this was quite obvious.  It’s another one of Mai-K’s questionable ballad tracks.  It’s weird that the verses has her singing so quietly that it’s barely audible and gets loud in the chorus which is quite nice calm and shows Mai having more control.  It’s an alright track thought, I’ll give it that.  Oh yea the BKGD vocals helping in the chorus sucks so much because they warp their notes terribly.

3. YES or NO ~TRANCE Continental Remix~

Why am I featuring this track you ask?  Well, the original has not been seen on an actual single nor an album, which surprises me.  I think it was an analog release or something along those lines which intrigued me.  The remix sounds like a MELL track which is beyond strange for me.  Mai’s singing is quite cool with this style and how she holds her notes are crazy good.  This is a remix though, so the music is more important than Mai so it’s alright to dance to.

 

 

Mai, you finally won me back with this single.  Stand Up was a great acoustically driven pop track and Double Rainbow was a nice ballad and the remix isn’t too horrible for being for a track that hasn’t seen the day of light in her official discography. 

 

 

Mai Kuraki – 24 Xmas time November 23, 2008

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 4:34 pm
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24xmastime

Track Listing

  1. 24 Xmas time
  2. All I want
  3. 24 Xmas time (Remix)
  4. 24 Xmas time -instrumental-
  5. All I want -instrumental-

1. 24 Xmas time

Mai-K and christmas tunes go hand in hand, because her last winter A-side “Winter Bells” was definitly one of my favorite J-pop Christmas songs and to see that she did it again made me happy.  24 Xmas time is upbeat and carries a more apparant R&B sound.  The problem is that she actually returns to this R&B that she’s been trying to get away of somewhat.  There’s a rapper as well in the song, and he’s alright but not the best.

2. All I want

All I want is the winter ballad of the single.  The lack of anything except piano and acoustics does seem pretty bland, but Mai’s voice is so sweet and lovely to hear.  She doesn’t get too crazy with the vocals which she has done before.  I’ve said this to many artists, but I also feel Mai-K has pushed with too many ballads.  So they start to become less memorable by each release, so I’m fearing this’ll also be forgotten.

3. 24 Xmas time (Remix)

I’m not sure why you’d need to remix a christmas tune, but I guess this track has been done.  The remix has a heavier R&B atmosphere, but it’s still basically the same track as above.  I did find the beats to be a little overbearing and it kind of messed up the holiday feeling the song was supposed to bring.  I guess my hopes weren’t too high for this.

 

 

Mai’s holiday single is alright, but it doesn’t hold a candle to “Winter Bells” for sure.  I guess it’s kind of strange to see Mai-K going back to her roots for the single because the song has such an R&B sound to it.  The B-side is alright, but it’ll get old pretty quickly.  Remix wasn’t needed, but I guess it’s needed. 

 

Mai Kuraki – Tsumetai Umi/Start in my life November 8, 2008

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 7:00 am
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250px-tsumetai_umi_7e_start_in_my_life

Track Listing

  1. Tsumetai Umi
  2. Start in my life
  3. NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP ~Never Never Land mix one~
  4. Tsumetai Umi ~Instrumental~
  5. Start in my life ~Instrumental~

1. Tsumetai Umi

A slower R&B track covers the first part of the double A-side package and I actually like this.  Even though I still consider Hikki over Mai, she actually does pretty well this time.  The song doesn’t bore me and the shuffling beat is quite catchy even though its typical.  The only think that bothered me was how thin she got hitting the high notes in the chorus. 

2. Start in my life

Sadly, I can’t say the same for the other A-side.  It reminds me too much of “Reach for the sky”  I mean it’s practically at the same tempo if not faster.  I guess Mai-K sounds a lot better controlling her notes and adding emotion, but c’mon the song is a major borefest for me. 

 

 

This is the problem, Mai Kuraki is putting out really boring singles…I mean the style hasn’t budged a bit and it’s still R&B to the core.  Tsumetai Umi though was the good A-side but it’s not too high on my favorites.  Start in my life was just so damn boring though…